Caer Sidi

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Greyhawk Realm
Kingdom of Caer Sidi
Caer Sidi01.jpg
A view of Caer Sidi, as depicted in Queen of the Demonweb Pits (1980). Art by Jeff Dee.
Motto/Nickname
Region An alternate world
Ruler Duke Alfric
Government Feudal monarchy
Established Unknown
Capital Caer Sidi
Major Towns
Provinces
Resources
Coinage
Population
Races Elves, hobgoblins, gnomes, trolls, dwarves, orcs, kobolds
Languages
Alignments Neutral (evil tendencies)
Religions Lolth
Allies Hobgoblins, gnomes, trolls
Enemies Lolth

The Kingdom of Caer Sidi is a land on another world accessible through Lolth's Demonweb Pits.

History

In 576 CY, when Gleep Wurp, Cloyer Bulse, Roaky Swerked, Frush O'Suggill, Fonkin Hoddypeak, Flerd Trantle, Redmod Dumple, Faffle Dwe'o-mercraeft, and Beek Gwenders entered the land through Lolth's forest portal, the Demon Queen of Spiders was new to the world, Duke Alfric of Caer Sidi and Lolth watching each other carefully to see how each might use the other for their respective ends.

By 596 CY, the present day in the Fiendish Codex I, Lolth had warred with Caer Sidi for nearly a decade before the Duke negotiated a truce. He still seeks to undermine Lolth whenever possible.

Geography and climate

The castle of Caer Sidi sits atop a small hill in an overgrown woodland and is surrounded by a well-manicured garden. The castle is tall and lacy in appearance, its color an ivory hue when in shadow but glistening with subtle rainbows in the light.

The land of Caer Sidi is shrouded in an artificial twilight, its sun always hidden by dark clouds. Griffons, manticores, dragons, unicorns and so forth dwell in the wilderness beyond.

People

The elves of Caer Sidi, known as Pharisees, are selfish, tricksy, and scheming, with a baroque, complicated system of social engagement whose rules seem impossible for outsiders to discern. They may seem haughty and cold; although they are emotional in private, they never allow themselves to form deep emotional attachments to others. Due to some unknown power, they cannot bear the touch of iron or steel, which burns them. They use other alloys instead. The elves are the ruling caste in this land, allied to the hobgoblins, gnomes, and trolls. They have enslaved groups of goblins, kobolds, dwarves, gnomes, and orcs, forcing them to perform all manual labor.

In the forests controlled by Lolth, bugbears, minotaurs, gargoyles, gnolls, and ogres all lurk.

Government

Caer Sidi is ruled by Duke Alfric, whose consort is the beautiful rogue Meriven.

Economy

The Pharisees depend heavily on slave labor. In the novel Three Hearts and Three Lions, Duke Alfric's people conjure some food and drink with magic, but supplement this with tribute from their subjugated lands and hunting the beasts of the nearby forests.

Military

Alfric's castle contains 70 elven fighters of levels 1-6. The Duke also maintains armies on campaign, watching over his dubious allies. His scouting parties will typically include six 1st level fighters and one fighter/magic-user of higher level. He also commands aerial patrols mounted on griffons and groups of powerful knights.

Creative origins

The Pharisees, their Duke Alfric, and his consort Meriven are a direct lift from the novel Three Hearts and Three Lions by Poul Anderson (1953), a fantasy novel about a man who travels from the battlefields of the Second World War to a world inspired by the legends of Charlemagne's paladins. From this novel, Gary Gygax drew the D&D troll, the paladin class, the swanmay, and the basics of the game's early alignment system which centered on the conflict between Law and Chaos.

The Pharisees in the novel lived in a castle called Elf Hill, which is more or less what "Caer Sidi" means. Duke Alfar is lord of the Duchy of Alfarland in the Kingdom of Faerie, a twilight realm where space and time seem uncertain. There the elves are served by goblins, kobolds, and other inhuman slaves. The Pharisee horses had something subtly off about them, with their legs longer and their heads smaller than mortal steeds.

Publishing history

David C. Sutherland first brought the Kingdom of Caer Sidi into D&D with his module Queen of the Demonweb Pits. Because of its inclusion there, it was also mentioned in the Queen of the Spiders supermodule and in two further descriptions of the Demonweb Pits in Fiendish Codex I: Hordes of the Abyss (2006) and Expedition to the Demonweb Pits (2007).

Charlemagne's Paladins (1992) was an AD&D sourcebook for gaming in the time of Charlemagne. While its emphasis was more low-fantasy than Anderson's novel, it included Three Hearts and Three Lions in its Suggested Reading section. If Caer Sidi was included in this campaign world, it would border a fairly rigorously researched version of Dark Age Europe. In his essay "Chronomancy & the Multiverse," Roger E. Moore said that the Earth of Charlemagne's Paladins and others in the "Historical Reference" campaign was the same as the world of the Masque of the Red Death campaign setting and the province of Averoigne in module X2, Castle Amber.

In 1995, Roger E. Moore wrote an essay called "Gates in the World of Greyhawk" in which he suggested that Caer Sidi could be placed on the world of Ginsel in Greyspace, saying that Caer Sidi "fits this mold perfectly," meshing with Ginsel's Machiavellian politics. Moore suggested placing Caer Sidi between the nation of Vasta and the Paloma Sea on Ginsel's outer surface.

Bibliography

  • Anderson, Poul. Three Hearts and Three Lions. Fantasy House, 1953.
  • Moore, Roger E.. "Chronomancy & the Multiverse, version 1.1." Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995. Originally appeared in TSR's America Online folder, later moved to its website. Available online:[1]
  • -----. "Gates in the World of Greyhawk." Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1995. Originally appeared in TSR's America Online folder, later moved to its website. Available online:[2]
  • Roston, Ken. Charlemagne's Paladins. Lake Geneva, WI: TSR, 1992.